The West End Extra reports;
“A CHILDREN’S playground in Queen’s Park was ripped out and replaced with a mound of earth – without any warning.
Outraged parents launched a petition this week to urge Westminster City Council to replace the play area and return the swings and climbing frame that was removed from Queen’s Park Gardens in Ilbert Street in January.
Susanna Rustin said her two children aged four and seven miss the playground and decided to start the petition asking the council to restore the park which is “loved by local kids and extremely well used”.
She said: “Essentially the playground has shrunk and there was no consultation or notice.
“I’m really hoping that not only will the decision be reversed but that the council will really act seriously at trying to find ways of creating an outdoor play provision for school-age children.”
Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management Ed Argar said that the equipment was removed because it was “falling into a state of disrepair” and would be replaced by April.
But Ms Rustin, who writes a blog about her community and sits on the Queen’s Park Community Council, said parents had not been informed the equipment would be removed or when it would be returned.
She said: “People were talking about it, but the initial reaction when I put it on my blog was disbelief. People said ‘surely they’re going to put it back’. But, no, it’s actually gone and not only has it gone but they must have brought in truck loads of earth.”
Ms Rustin said the council now needs to do more to “address the lack of play provision for children aged four and above,” adding: “I think not having any proper outdoor play provisions in a ward like ours is completely unacceptable.
“Queen’s Park has among the highest proportion of children in the whole borough, it’s also one of the poorest wards. So I just think it’s extraordinary that they just don’t want to invest in kids in our area.”
It comes as the council prepares to demolish the nearby Jubilee Sports Centre and replace it with luxury flats.
The plan includes a new £17million sports centre built one kilometre away on the site of the existing Moberly Sports Centre in Brent and have been criticised by Queen’s Park residents who say the area is being stripped of council facilities.
Ms Rustin said: “Obviously that’s become the context, when people in the neighbourhood are already quite upset about other changes. In a post-Olympics year I just thought there was going to be more enthusiasm for kids doing physical stuff.”